Mumbai, July 1: Firing his first salvo after demitting office, former Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that a person who deserted the party cannot be a ‘Shiv Sena CM’ — referring to the new incumbent Eknath Shinde.
Slamming the statements of several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders claiming that a ‘Shiv Sainik’ (Shinde) had finally become the state Chief Minister, Thackeray termed them as “attempts being made to misguide the Shiv Sena workers”.
“A person who has sidelined the Sena cannot be called a ‘Shiv Sainik’ CM,” said Thackeray, firmly dismissing the new ruling combine’s contentions after Shinde took oath as the CM and former Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis was sworn-in as the Deputy CM late Thursday.
The Sena chief’s statements assume significance amid claims by the Shinde Group of 40-MLAs that they are ‘the real Shiv Sena’ with the possibility of a tussle to control the 56-year-old party and its assets.
Moreover, the Sena President said that he had been saying that for the past two-and-half-years that a Shiv Sainik should be the Chief Minister and it was even decided at ‘Matoshri’ well before the last Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly polls (both in 2019).
“If Amit Shah (BJP’s Union Home Minister) had kept his word, and shared the post of CM, whatever happened in the past few days could have happened in a dignified manner,” said Thackeray, referring to the rebellion in the party ranks.
He reiterated that Shah reneged on its promise of sharing the CM’s post for 30-months each, and now the two-and-half-year period was over, and there could have been an amicable changeover.
“If they had honoured the commitment, then where was the need for me to become CM and even Maha Vikas Aghadi would not have come into existence…” Thackeray pointed out, in a brief media interaction at the Shiv Sena Bhavan – the party headquarters in Dadar.